The best time to visit San Diego is in the spring, from March through May, and in the fall, between September and November. In these shoulder seasons, the weather is fantastic, and there’ll be good deals on accommodations and airfares compared to the height of summer. However, San Diego experiences mild temperatures year-round so can be explored at any time of the year.
Summer in San Diego is peak season, and crowds of locals and visitors flock to the city to enjoy the beautiful beaches, loads of outdoor activities, and great weather. Hotels and airfare prices rocket in summer; be sure to book early if you plan on heading to the city in July or August.
Winters in San Diego are mild with rain but by no means freezing like cities in the north. It’s perfect if you want to spend days exploring and sightseeing. Hotel rates tend to be lower in the winter letting astute travelers score some great deals.
Not sure when to launch your San Diego vacation? Find out the best times to go with this in-depth San Diego weather guide to by season and month!
Got more travel plans on the horizon? Check out our other weather & when to go guides and our California Travel Guide for more recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
Weather in San Diego
Spring is one of the best times to visit San Diego. The weather is glorious, with temperatures averaging in the mid-to-upper 60s °F (low 20s °C) and long and sunny days.
May has earned the moniker of ‘May Gray’ as skies tend to be overcast during the day, sometimes clearing into hazy sunshine along the coast. It’s still warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking, and the beaches are perfect for early-morning walks.
Spring is the perfect time to travel to San Diego if you love flowers, as the Carlsbad Flower Fields burst into bloom and are a remarkable sight. The city also hosts the Coronado Flower Show, the largest tented flower show in the country. It’s well worth attending whether you’re a budding bloomer or flora aficionado.
Summer in San Diego rocks with soaring temperatures, plenty of festivals, and loads of visitors. In early June, temperatures are beginning to warm up to the mid-70s °F (mid-20s °C), but ‘May Gray’ rolls into ‘June Gloom’ with overcast skies. It’s not ideal beach weather, but that shouldn’t stop you from hitting the waves to surf or exploring attractions around the city on your San Diego itinerary.
July sees the hottest weather and the most visitors. Hotel prices tend to spike, particularly around Comic-Con, the city’s biggest event. Lodgings at the best places to stay in San Diego are usually fully booked during July, so it’s best to book your rooms well in advance.
August is slightly less busy than July, but it’s still considered peak season, so hotel rates are high. August is also the best time of the year for fishing charters.
Fall is foodie time in San Diego, with multiple culinary events taking place. The summer crowds tend to linger into September to enjoy the last of the beautiful summer weather – temperatures are in the mid-to-high 70s °F (mid-to-high 20s °C), and the days are bright and sunny.
Autumn is the perfect time to spend long, lazy days on San Diego’s best beaches. October and November see the summer crowds disperse, and hotel rates decrease significantly.
Temperatures in fall are mild, with days hovering between 65°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C). It’s a great time to explore the top San Diego tourist attractions, including museums, art galleries, and world-class restaurants.
Winter is San Diego’s coolest season, but nothing like a traditional winter with freezing temperatures and snow. The coastal city experiences regular rainfall during winter, but temperatures remain in the 60s °F (low-20s °C) during the day and only drop to much colder temperatures very early in the mornings.
This time of the year isn’t great for the beach as showers can be frequent. Nonetheless, you’ll find some great off-season deals on airfares and hotel rooms, and it’s an ideal time to explore the city’s art galleries, museums, and other attractions.
Winter is also a good time of year for whale watching. Bundle up and head out for a whale-watching excursion to add an extra special experience to your San Diego itinerary!
January is usually the coldest month of the year in San Diego. Temperatures don’t get much higher than 65°F (18°C) during the day, with nights dropping to 49°F (9°C). Although it’s one of the wettest times of the year with two inches of rain, some days are glorious with over 10 hours of sunshine.
Despite the cooler weather, there’s still plenty to see & do in San Diego in January, from the world-renowned Restaurant Week to watching the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course. January sees very few tourists, and hotel prices are at their lowest.
Festivals & events in January
- San Diego Restaurant Week
- Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course
- Carlsbad Marathon and Half-Marathon
February is still fairly cool in San Diego, with average highs of 66°F (19°C) and lows creeping up to 51°F (10°C). There’s still a lot of rain about with two inches falling, but it’s the best month of the year to hit the museums.
You can enjoy half-price admission at over 40 museums during San Diego Museum Month. From the San Diego Natural History Museum to the Fleet Science Center, there’s a museum for every interest. Pick up your pass at select libraries and hotels.
Festivals & events in February
- Chinese New Year Fair
- San Diego Museum Month
Even though temperatures are beginning to warm up slowly, March tends to have the coldest nights of the year, with the mercury dropping to 51°F (10°C). Still, days are getting balmier and averaging 67°F (20°C) and are ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and surfing (in a full wetsuit).
San Diego plays host to the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade west of the Mississippi, and streets in the Gaslamp Quarter are filled with green-clad revelers dancing late into the night.
Hotel rates start to rise during the second week of March due to spring break; be sure to book your accommodation in advance to get the best deals.
Festivals & events in March
- Patrick’s Day Parade
- Busker Fest
- Kia Classic LPGA Golf Tournament in Carlsbad
- Carlsbad Flower Fields
Spring arrives in San Diego in April as blooming flowers blanket the hills and green spaces throughout the city. Temperatures inch towards 68°F (21°C), and the ocean begins to warm up enough for surfers and swimmers to spring suits. The odd drizzle occurs here and there, but nothing a light windbreaker won’t stave off.
One of the top-rated San Diego day trips, the famous Flower Fields of Carlsbad burst into brilliant bloom in April and attract flower fundis from afar to admire the kaleidoscope of colors. While hotels in Carlsbad tend to be busy, elsewhere you’ll find good shoulder season hotel rates before the summer rush.
Don’t miss the Mission Federal ArtWalk in late April, where more than 300 artists show and sell their work on the streets of Little Italy.
Festivals & events in April
- San Diego EarthFair
- Mission Fed ArtWalk
- Coronado Flower Show
- Petal To Plate
The brightness of spring takes a little dip in May when the clouds settle in, causing overcast skies and a rise in humidity. Temperatures average around 69°F (20°C) during the day and drop to lows of 59°F (15°C) at night. Despite the gray days, tourism escalates in May.
May Gray, as it is adversely known, may not be great for beachgoers, but it’s perfect for hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and mountain biking in the surrounding Laguna Mountains.
Festivals begin to appear in May, with the Fiesta Del Sol happening in Solana Beach and the Gator by the Bay crawfish extravaganza.
Festivals & events in May
- Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo
- Gator By the Bay
- Fiesta Del Sol in Solana Beach
The overcast conditions continue turning May Gray turns to June Gloom. The moody morning skies usually clear later in the day, producing gloriously sunny afternoons and turning frowns upside down. Despite the overcast skies, temperatures sneak into the 70s (20s) for the first time, and the weather begins to warm up.
Gray days are best for enjoying San Diego’s top attractions, and when the sun comes out, it’s time to hit the beaches. The San Diego Beer Festival draws beer lovers from all over the state, and the San Diego County Fair offers loads of family-friendly fun.
Festivals & events in June
- San Diego County Fair
- San Diego International Beer Festival
- San Diego Beer Weekend
- San Diego Symphony at Bayside Summer Nights.
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
By July, June Gloom has gone, and summer is in full swing. Days are long, hot, and sunny, with average highs of 75°F (24°C). July is also the driest month of the year, with little to no rainfall at all. Crowds flock to the city to enjoy the beaches and theme parks. In July, hotels are full and at their priciest.
There are loads of events and festivals in July, with the world-famous Comic Con taking center stage. Pop culture fans take over the city for a week, filling hotels, restaurants, and bars, and it’s expensive and difficult to find a room or a table.
There are also PRIDE events throughout the month and Big Bay Boom, Southern California’s largest fireworks display on the 4th of July.
Festivals & events in July
- Big Bay Boom
- San Diego County Fair
- San Diego Pride
- Del Mar Racing Season
The warm weather continues into August, and the month is a fantastic time to enjoy the beach and swimming in the ocean. Temperatures are similar to those in July, ranging from 67°F (19°C) to 76°F (25°C), and evenings are perfect for outdoor concerts under the stars.
The Pacific Ocean waters are at their warmest in August, with an average temperature of 68°F (20°C). Beachgoers flock to the shores to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. Thoroughbred racing season is in full swing at the Del Mar Racetrack, while the San Diego Symphony hosts outdoor concerts throughout the month.
Peak season and the upcoming Labor Day weekend keep hotel room rates at their highest during August.
Festivals & events in August
- Del Mar Racing Season
- San Diego Symphony Bayside Summer Nights outdoor concerts
Summer sizzles into September with the hot desert Santa Ana winds beginning to blow and extending the beach season. San Diego’s most popular attractions and beautiful beaches become less crowded, and hotel rates begin to decrease as kids go back to school. September days are long and warm with crisp, clear, blue skies.
With temperatures ranging from lows of 66°F (18°C) to highs of 77°F (26°C), September is the perfect time to enjoy a wealth of events in San Diego. Watch the world’s fastest boats roaring around Mission Bay at the San Diego Bayfair, catch a Padres baseball game at Petco Park, or kick back to some tunes at the Kaboo Music Festival.
Festivals & events in September
- San Diego Bayfair
- Jazz at the Creek
- Kaboo Music Festival
- San Diego Blues Festival
- Taste of Gaslamp
- Miramar Air Show
- Del Mar Racing Season
Summer begins to wane in October, with temperatures cooling down a few degrees to average highs of 73°F (23°C). Days become slightly shorter due to daylight savings, but they’re still warm enough to enjoy the beach and outdoor dining. You may need a light jacket in the evenings towards the end of the month as it cools down.
October is Kids Free Month and a fantastic time to explore San Diego with the family. Pint-sized travelers can stay, play, and eat for free at various partners around the city.
Other events during October worth visiting include the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival and the International Film Fest, and the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
Festivals & events in October
- Kids Free San Diego
- La Jolla Art & Wine Festival
- San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
- International Film Fest
As temperatures begin to cool down, the sky brightens up, with November being the brightest month of the year. Temperatures range between 54°F (12°C) and 69°F (21°C) and are ideal for getting out and about in nature. Use those gloriously sunny and cool days to enjoy the most popular hiking trails around San Diego and horseback riding adventures in the foothills of the surrounding mountains.
November is also a fantastic festival month, with food and wine being at the top of the list. The San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival at the Embarcadero Marina Park North is a favorite for wine lovers. If you prefer hops to grapes, then the San Diego Beer Week will be right up your alley.
While hotel prices rise around Thanksgiving, earlier in the month, you’ll find some of the lowest hotel rates of the year.
Festivals & events in November
- San Diego Beer Week
- San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
- Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado
December marks the beginning of winter for San Diego, but while most of the country is covered in snow, the city enjoys mild weather and sunshine. The mercury hovers around 65°F (18°C) during the day, and most days are sunny and bright with the very occasional drizzle.
Despite the untraditional weather, San Diego is full of festive cheer with plenty of Christmas and season events. December Nights at Balboa Park has a variety of entertainment from bands, dancers, and festive light displays. In December, visitors can also tour museums for free.
Don’t miss the Holiday Bowl Parade, the country’s largest balloon parade, and the annual San Diego Parade of Lights put on by 80 lavishly decorated boats.
Festivals & events in December
- San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
- Balboa Park December Nights
- Holiday Bowl Parade
- The Nutcracker by the California Ballet
- Shows at the Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park
- Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s Winter Wonderland
- Hotel del Coronado’s Skating by the Sea